VACCINE COVERAGE: CMA Plans To Sue Administration Over Healthy Families Denial
The California Medical Association plans to announce that it is filing suit tomorrow against Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala for the administration's refusal to cover vaccines for low-income children enrolled in the state's Healthy Families program. Shalala ruled in March that children enrolled in the Healthy Families program did not qualify for the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program because they were neither uninsured nor covered by Medi-Cal. The state created the Healthy Families program instead of expanding Medi-Cal under the federal Children's Health Insurance Program, and Shalala determined that this "separate" program does not qualify for vaccine coverage. CMA contends that the federal government is required by law to extend the VFC program to Healthy Families program. The CMA's move follows the recent introduction by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D) of legislation to ensure that low-income children in the state will have access to free federal vaccines (release, 5/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.